My mom was the greatest children’s book narrator that a kid could ask for; she brought every single story to life with her exciting voices and enthusiasm for every story. Halloween was always my favorite time of year because the stories always more funny voices, sounds, and songs then usual. Every fall I would delight when she took out one my favorite books, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, we would sit for hours reading the spooky, but often funny stories. She would accentuate the sounds and movements perfectly, and truly brought the story to life for me. When I found out that this book, one of my favorites from childhood is often banned, I was astonished; to think that a child might not be able to experience such great, animated stories all because someone thought it was inappropriate is really upsetting. I became a librarian because I love literature, information, and continuous learning, and believe that everyone, everywhere should have equal access to all information, including books that might be controversial.
Unfortunately, many people believe that books with controversial topics and language should not be readily available to all groups of people, especially young adults. In 1982, the American Library Association created Banned Books Week in response to a large surge in the amount of books being challenged in libraries and schools. Held during the last week of September, this annual event brings awareness to the many books being banned and the idea of censorship as a whole. An opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Finding Censorship Where There Is None” refutes the idea that books have really been banned, stating that “if a book isn’t available at one library or bookstore, it’s certainly available at another. Not even the most committed civil libertarian demands that every book be immediately available everywhere on request.” Do you think that the idea of banned books is still relevant today?
My favorite banned books include The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Catcher in the Rye, and of course Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. What are your favorite banned books?
You can visit the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week page to find out more information about this week long celebration of controversial literature.
A complete list of popular banned books can be found in Content Reserve.